SEARCY, Ark. — A Harding University senior is driving her way through college, as she is the youngest bus driver in the city of Searcy.
Following in her older brother's footsteps, 21-year-old Faith Smith recently started working as a bus driver for Searcy Public Schools to make a little extra money on the side.
Working at One Life Wellness and Primary Care Clinic for a couple of years, Faith wants to go to Physicians Assistant school. She was hesitant about taking on extra work hours, but her brother insisted.
With his connections, Faith was able to take her chance at the driver's seat.
"There have been signs all over town, saying 'We need school bus drivers,'" Faith said.
But, coming from the state of Texas to an Arkansas college, Faith had a few challenges before driving down the highway.
"I had to switch my license over, so now I am an Arkansas resident," she said. "Everyone has to pass the general knowledge CDL test, but I had to study and pass the passenger vehicle test, the school bus test and the air brakes test."
Faith said one of her favorite parts of driving a bus is getting to interact with the younger students on her bus.
"I really like having the younger kids," she said. " I worked as a camp counselor for several years with lots of different ages of kids, but I just know how to get a response out of younger kids. It's more fun when the kids are like 'Teacher! Teacher!' Those are my favorite parts about driving, is when I can have these moments with them."
From the back of the bus to the driver's seat, Faith said this experience has made her very appreciative of everyone who has had a hand in her education, and is very honored to have her hand in the future generation.
"I'm so glad I get to have the opportunity to see the magnitude of what driving a school bus is. Maybe that's just the way I think about things, but it is a huge deal to me that parents are in trusting their kids to me," she said.